Mothers say a lot of things. Some words you hear once and forget, but some linger as you grow and mature. I remember this one conversation I had with my mother when I was about thirteen or 14 years old. I didn’t know any better, but I was getting older and more ladylike. My mother had a rough life, but even now she would love to see me walk up on that stage and graduate college with my classmates. She said in a teary voice, “Find jobs were you don’t have to bust your butt all day and night just to make ends meet.” She was a teenage mother, struggling to take care of me, while she had to find a good work schedule. She never completed her education; therefore she tried to push me into doing something for myself. My mother and I never really talked much, but this time was special. She wanted to talk about boys my age and their intentions. The words she said to me, and the explanation she gave me, would stay in my head forever. Every time I would even look at a boy, I would think of her, and what she’s been through.
It was a cool breezy day in January 2006, when my mother called for me. She said, “Sit down we need to have a little talk.” I looked at her and said, “Talk, about what?” Then there was a silence. It was no ordinary silence it was more like a serious silence, that you know its time to get serious. She then asked me, “Have you been thinking of boys or more like a boyfriend?” I laughed and told her, “Are you serious?” Next thing you know, she was off telling me all about those sneaky boys. All I could do was sit back and listen to every word she had to say.
My mother then sits next to me and out poured the words. “There comes a time when you will fall in love or so think you are in love.” She continues and explains that these so called boys will ask me out on dates, or ask for my phone number.
I’m sitting and thinking, “This is not happening.” She then raised her voice a little and said, “It will be easy for you to hand over your phone number and accept that first date.” She was telling me that she only wanted the best for me and therefore, she would trust me to make good choices.
My mother talks with her hands so while she was telling me, all I saw were hand gestures all over the place. She exclaimed, “Give yourself the respect you deserve!” She was trying to imply that if I respect myself, then the boys will respect me.
She told me some of her thoughts and things she didn’t want repeated and done to me. As she looked down she said, “Don’t believe anything they say, I may have made a few mistakes in my life.” She looked at me and I saw a tear flow down her cheek. She said, “I wouldn’t want you to be a teen mother, like myself, having to drop school and working a full time mediocre job.”
My mother then explained, “It’s a tough world out there, especially without someone to be there for guidance and support.” She grabbed my knee and said, “There will be plenty of time for children of your own and plenty of boys.” She also mentioned that I shouldn’t let anybody put my self-esteem down. Finally she took a deep breath and said, “Don’t think of anything I said to you now, but somewhere along in your life you will notice you’re becoming a young woman.” She calmly walked toward the door and said, “Then you will sit back and think about this conversation with your mother.”
This conversation only took about 2 to 3 minutes. To me it was almost half a day, it was nice, and for my mother to talk to me that way made me realize that I was in a way becoming a young woman. When I am alone, I go for walks at the mall, or at the park. I look at everything and I can’t believe my eyes. There are young teenage girls becoming mothers for the first time. Some of these girls won’t even go back to pursue their education. Sometimes I wonder what it would be like, if I hadn’t had that conversation with my mother. Time goes by really fast and you don’t realize it, until you are in a struggle. Then and only then, do I remember those words and say to myself, “I am so proud of having such a role model in my life, like my mother, to guide me and be there for emotional and unconditional support.” Thank you, mother, because if it weren’t for you I wouldn’t be where I am at this very moment.